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The What, the Why, and the How

Assembling information to meet your needs

Microsoft has been busy lately, getting Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) out the door, shipping Windows x64, renaming and releasing Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), and lots more. All this activity keeps us hopping as we work to cover all the new information in a useful way and still give you the content you need to solve problems today. I'm always looking at reader feedback to make sure our article mix is on track with your needs, so let me tell you about the role readers played in assembling this issue.

Windows Server SP1
On our Web site, Paul Thurrott's March article, "What You Need to Know About Windows Server 2003 SP1" (InstantDoc ID 45246) has been among the top five most-read articles since it was published. And readers are still having a lively conversation about the article and their experiences with SP1 so far. In my interview with Microsoft's Clyde Rodriguez, Samm DiStasio, and Jeff Price (see "Microsoft Talks About Windows Server 2003 SP1," page 44), I asked them to address considerations raised in the online discussion and in our reviews. Clyde gave me some technical insights into SP1 features, as well as the development process inside Microsoft. Let me know what you think about Microsoft's answers.

Anne Grubb's IT Pro Hero profile ("SP1 RC2 Passes the Test," page 45) provides firsthand insight into the high points and the gotchas that one SP1 early adopter experienced. Peter Chang, network systems engineer for the city of Redmond, Washington, told Anne about some GPO glitches and unexpected results of the new security settings. He also talked about a DCOM problem—and DCOM is known to affect SP1 application compatibility.

I want to make sure you get a balanced perspective, not just Microsoft's messages, so I invite you to join Michael Otey in a live chat: "Reality Check: What to Expect with SP1," on May 25 at noon EDT. This is your chance to ask questions and get unbiased answers that are based on Mike's testing and review of SP1.

My SP1 article doesn't cover the Windows x64 release (for more information about Windows x64, see Paul Thurrott's "x64: The Future of Mainstream Enterprise Computing," InstantDoc ID 45958). However, some users seem unsure about SP1 for 32 bit and 64 bit, so I want to pass along an important clarification that Samm DiStasio made: "We want to be super clear that when you download SP1 for your 32-bit platform, you don't have the 64-bit enabled version. That's the tricky thing about having one code base that can be recompiled on other hardware: The 32-bit version is the same code as x64, but the x64 version is a separate SKU. That's one thing I've tried to hammer home."

And speaking of x64: Don't forget that if you've already purchased 64-bit hardware and have the 32-bit OS, Microsoft has stated that it will swap your 32-bit license for the 64-bit version.

WSUS has been a long time coming and much anticipated, as Paul Thurrott points out in "What You Need to Know About Windows Update Services" (InstantDoc ID 41969). This has been one of our most frequently read articles online, and the reader discussion about WSUS has been lively. I recently conducted a WSUS survey for my Hey Microsoft! column (to appear in the July issue), and several readers commented about how eagerly they've been awaiting WSUS. My favorite reader comment about adopting WSUS is: "At this point, the only thing that would prevent me from implementing WSUS across my enterprise is a bus—as in, one that hits me."

In this issue, Michael Otey's Top 10 column focuses on the WSUS features Mike likes best. Tell us what your favorite (or least favorite) feature is, and watch for upcoming how-to articles.

Problem Solving
Keeping track of Microsoft's new releases is important, but solving problems is the number one challenge for IT pros. So we haven't neglected how-to content in this issue. In "20 Windows 2003 Command-Line Weapons" (page 63), Sean Deuby describes valuable command-line utilities and how to combine them. In addition, Sean assembled a quick-reference card listing each utility's syntax, options, and location. You can download the PDF from the Interact! box at, InstantDoc ID 45905.

Products and Perspectives
Although I haven't mentioned our product coverage (and New & Improved's terrific new design), columns, or Solutions Plus articles, these are essential elements of the magazine. Let me know if we've achieved the right balance of coverage, and give me ideas for future articles.

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